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Take Five with Rosa Corona: English Learner Program Teacher at Niños Heroes Elementary

20 January 2023

As an ELPT, Ms. Corona serves as the connection between home and school, particularly for students who are new to the United States.

Headshot of Rosa Corona

Take Five is a series that highlights some of the many CPS staff members who are going above and beyond for our schools. If you know someone who is making a difference, nominate them to be featured here

Meet Ms. Rosa Corona, an English Learner Program Teacher (ELPT) at Niños Heroes Elementary Academic Center. Ms. Corona started at CPS back in 2007, and worked at Calmeca Academy of Fine Arts and Dual Language for fifteen years before moving to Niños Heroes Elementary last year.

As an ELPT, Ms. Corona provides bilingual students with bilingual services, English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction, and native language instruction. Ms. Corona also serves as the connection between home and school, particularly for students who are new to the United States. In her work with newcomer students, Ms. Corona prioritizes culturally responsive teaching, connecting with students’ families in partnership and support, and offering reassurance to families that they will be okay in a new country.

What made you want to become a teacher? 

I grew up in Mission, Texas, which is a small city around three minutes from the Mexican border (it’s known as the Citrus City because of all of the beautiful orange and grapefruit trees there). Being from the frontera, or the border, is really where my bilingual journey began. 

Then in my early teenage years, I was a migrant worker in Minnesota during the summers, and a local principal recruited me to support the young students attending the migrant summer school. I started working at the school during the summers: serving as a bus aide translator, doing read-alouds, and facilitating trainings with the teachers. 

This experience is what really sparked my love of reading, education, and working with children. 

What is most rewarding about your work?

I really enjoy my career, and I think the students of Chicago are incredible. I love working with families and finding ways to bring students’ cultures, families, and learning together. As part of my job, I work with the parents on my school’s Bilingual Advisory Committee (BAC) to plan a lot of after-school and family activities. Our big project right now is trying to launch Día de los Niños at our school, which is a celebration of childhood and an opportunity for students to have a fun day with the whole school community. That’s the stuff that makes me excited — activities where you can unite communities and bring everyone together.

What are you most well known for in your school community?

My advocacy for my parents and my students. I want to make sure that my students are able to get the quality education that they deserve, and I want to make sure my families know about their rights and the resources that are available to them. And that’s not only limited to instructional and academic resources, but also resources around social and emotional needs, or a family’s immigration status.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I am a family person, and I love spending time with my two children and my husband. Even though I've been in Chicago for 16 years, I still feel like I haven’t seen everything. So I love trying new restaurants and new activities, because I know there’s so many fun and beautiful places in Chicago that I haven’t experienced yet.

Is there any possession or material object that has special significance for you?

I like to keep a locket with a photo of my grandfather with me. My grandparents were both very important to me, and I like to keep it as a reminder of who I am.

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